FOX Studios must have had a brilliant plan up there sleeves all along for marketing X-Men: Apocalypse. At San Diego Comic Con, they released the first red band trailer to extremely excited audiences and the whole thing really amped up the buzz around the film. Alas, FOX says that footage will remain for SDCC audiences only, so unless you saw the pirated footage that was leaked on the internet (which you shouldn’t have, because that’s stealing, but if you did OH MY GOD THAT WAS AWESOME RIGHT?! Not that I’ve seen it or anything…) you may be out of luck.
However, FOX teamed up with Entertainment Weekly to give non-SDCC attending audiences a glimpse of the film to hopefully get them just as pumped. The new issue of EW will hit news stands on July 24, 2015 and will feature a full-length introduction to the film and several characters and their costumes. Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Apocalypse himself (Oscar Isaac) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) grace the cover, and on the inside spread we get glimpses of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Professor X (James McAvoy), Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nick Hoult) as well as first looks at new comer mutants Jubilee (Lana Condor), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), amd Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).
You can look at the first photos here, and be sure to pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly when it comes out next week.
All images belong to FOX Studios and Entertainment Weekly. They are credited to Alan Markfield.
Genre – Comedy, Stoner Comedy
Director – Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Cast – Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jonah Hill
Alluring element – Some of the funniest guys on the planet… oh and Emma Watson
Check it out if you liked – Pineapple Express, Superbad
Plain and simple, this is a Stoner movie. And perhaps I would have liked it more had I actually been stoned while watching it. Unfortunately, I was much too sober to fully enjoy This is the End. I was really excited to see this film because Superbad is my favorite modern comedy. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are a crack team at writing comedy. All the actors, no matter how small or big a part they were, have all acted in some of the best comedies of the last 5 years. Yet, the movie lacked the charisma the other movies had. It’s a little hard to lack charisma when there is so much personality in one room, especially when all the actors are playing themselves, in a sense. But I think that was the problem; there was too much personality and not enough substance.
This is the End starts with Jay coming to visit his best Canadian friend Seth. Seth convinces an unwilling Jay to go to a party at James Franco’s home. Once they arrive, Jay is ditched by Seth, who hangs out with all his Hollywood friends. We meet a very coked-out and very annoying Michael Cera who slaps Rihanna’s butt. It is great that Rihanna bitch slaps Cera, but if that scene hadn’t been previously leaked, it would have been funnier. Craig Robinson is the life of the party singing a song to match his T-Shirt, “Take Yo Panties Off.” This shirt was possibly the funniest character in the movie. I want that shirt. James Franco has two large canvasses hanging prominently in his new home that read “James Franco” and “Seth Rogen”. Jay soon feels uncomfortable and wants to go to the corner mart. Seth accompanies him and they argue about Jay feeling uncomfortable and the running joke that Jay and Jonah Hill hate each other. At the corner mart, the apocalypse begins and those who are good are sent to heaven. The rest, including our entire cast, are left to what is now hell on Earth. And thus the large chunk of the movie ensues.
A lot of the movie felt as though the writers, and probably the actors, sat in a room for days on end, got stoned out of their minds, and then made a whole bunch of inside jokes. Many of which weren’t funny once on screen. There weren’t a lot of one-liners that came out of this film as being “quotable” as there were in Superbad or Knocked Up. That is what I love about those movies, is that I can still quote them, and they are still funny. The one scene that was memorable and quotable is *SPOILER* when the group is trying to exorcise the possessed Jonah Hill. As Jay stands above him with a crucifix chanting “the power of Christ compels you!”, devil-Jonah mocks ” Guess what? It’s not that compelling.” The majority of the actors play people they really aren’t and haven’t really been in any other movie. But Danny McBride was still an ass. And because of that, I didn’t find him funny. I kept thinking throughout that the role would have been fitting for someone else, and someone who has never been part of that crew. Perhaps the great JGL? I can dream. Many of the jokes were giggle worthy: Jonah playing with James Franco’s gun, the argument over the Milky Way, the sequel to Pineapple Express. But some jokes just fell flat. Discussing Emma Watson and rape in the same sentence is not funny. And really, any joke about rape, especially written by a group of men is hard to come across as funny. And what was with The Backstreet Boys being the music of heaven? Its a little laughable, but it probably only makes sense to those guys.
This is the End is the one of those movies I don’t regret watching, but I probably won’t be watching it again anytime soon. Maybe next time, Seth.
Genre – Horror/Sci-Fi
Director – Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace)
Cast – Brad Pitt, others
Alluring element – A film adaptation of one of the best sci-fi/thriller books ever
Check it out if you liked – World War Z by Max Brooks, The Walking Dead, I Am Legend
After a long-delayed release, the film adaptation of Max Brook’s award winning book, World War Z, finally managed to infect theaters June 21st. The rights to make the movie were initially won by Pitt’s production company, Plan B, in a bidding war between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in 2007, but the production of the film was caught up on a multitude of issues including five different screenwriters and going $50M over budget (the budget for this film was almost as high as Man of Steel‘s). Perhaps the most absurd hang-up was when Hungarian police confiscated “weapons [that] included hand guns, machine guns, high-precision sniper rifles, hand grenades and a large quantity of high-caliber ammunition” due to a miscommunication with Customs. Even through all the drama off-camera, the Pitt crew were able to put together a thrilling film that has you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride.
My first concern when seeing the full preview trailer for the film was that it is nothing like the book. One of my favorite novels of all time, Max Brooks’ World War Z is a collection of short stories that explain, piece by piece, how the war against the zombies began and ended (I won’t go into too much detail; I will post a book review soon). The movie, however, was very linear, as it followed our main character, Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt), as he searches the world for the origin and cure of the zombie disease. I originally imagined World War Z would take the form of a TV miniseries, with each episode giving the opportunity for the complete story to be told in great detail. A film medium doesn’t really allow for that deep exploration that does the book justice. I hate to turn into one of those people who criticizes movie adaptations from books as being not as good as the original material, so I will try my darnedest to keep my thoughts about how it compared to the book to a minimum and just focus on the movie.
That being said, World War Z is terrifying. The zombies remind me very much of the infected in I Am Legend, with rigid movement and exaggerated facial tweaks, as well as a penchant to move like stampeding wildebeest. This throws all zombie logic out the window. Watching The Walking Dead religiously gives me an inkling of hope that, if forced with the pending zombie apocalypse, I could maybe survive. I could hole up in the West Georgia Correctional Facility, and clear it out with my buddies in phalanx. Things might not be that bad. Well, after watching ten minutes of World War Z, that idealistic mindset was sent crashing and burning to the ground. With the commencement of the apocalypse, you can truly sympathize with the characters stuck in the middle of it. There is a prominent sense of panic that is maintained for the entirety of the film. Perhaps the most impressive feat was that this was all done while boasting a PG-13 rating; there is limited blood and hardly any gore. While it probably could have benefited from more graphic biting/turning scenes, World War Z makes a strong case for “less is more.”
Brad Pitt takes up a majority of the screen time, but he’s not the only character that makes an impact. Everybody that he and his family interact with has fear and distrust in their eyes. Above all, they all panic quite realistically and do very stupid things when faced with mortality. It’s a breath of fresh air in a genre that forces everybody into cliche big speeches before being killed off in dramatic and allegorical fashion (“A FUCKIN SHARK ATE ME!” – Samuel L Jackson from Deep Blue Sea). All characters are believable in their actions, letting the film scare you instead of letting the characters telling you what to be afraid of. Conversely, the zombies were heavily CGI’d. I would have liked to see more make-up and less computer animation. While the incredibly freaky speed and power of the zombies makes them scarier, it takes away from the realism of the environment in World War Z that makes it so daunting. The pace of the film is very fitting. Lane travels around the world in search of the origin of the disease, and a possible cure for it. From New Jersey to South Korea to Israel, you never feel like you get a moment to catch your breath. By the time the film had reached its climax, I was certain we were only half-way through. It was stimulating throughout and ended on a fairly high note, which is refreshing for a movie set during the end of the world.
So remember when I talked about not trying to compare it to the book earlier? I totally lied. Max Brooks’ masterful novel left the writers so much room to build on. Perhaps the best part of the book to me was the systematic deconstruction of the human way of life. From the military to politics to neighborhood watch, the novel gave a very realistic and frightening portrayal of what it would look like if our fragile reality was blown to hell. I personally feel like the movie suffered from streamlining everything to show Lane’s adventure instead of choosing a more varied approach. That’s not to say that all was lost in translation. The reference in Israel to the “Tenth Man,” the North Korean solution and the referral to zombies by American soldiers as “Zeke” were well-placed tributes to the book. There are also subtle nods to The Walking Dead when Pitt’s character offers a Dale-like solution to prevent the spread of immediate bites, as well as a few additional Easter Eggs I challenge you to find. A lot of references allude to stories in the book, but they’re often left hanging on the tip of Z‘s tongue. Really, though, you can’t get away with calling this a World War Z movie without the Lobo, without Yonkers, and without the rest of the bat-shit craziness that the world comes to once they hear the fat lady sing.
When it comes down to it, World War Z offers the latest and greatest zombie action flick since 28 Days Later (I know, not technically a zombie movie; get off my back!). It will keep you in your seat from start to finish, and it feels like a genuine attempt at showing how screwed and unprepared everybody is for a full-scale rise of the dead. A lot of the soul of the book was lost in the translation of having one protagonist. But what Z lacks in range, it makes up for in gruesome sincerity. The human condition is documented well amongst the CGI’d swarms of zombies. I would recommend that you lurk your way to theaters to see this film if you are a fan of zombie movies, thrillers or Brad Pitt.
The creator of The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, sat down with Hyundai (whose cars often appear in The Walking Dead TV Show) to design the “Ultimate Zombie Killing Machine.” It’s a pretty ridiculous concept, but I’m sure they know that. While a Hyundai isn’t my first choice as a zombie apocalypse survival vehicle, The cool additions and the Issue #100 wrap-around paint job is pretty awesome. The Walking Dead is expected to be displaying the concept vehicle during SDCC. I will fight through the crowds to get pictures of this.
You can find more details, along with a pretty cool Robert Kirkman interview here.